Daily news summary News of Radio Prague

18-01-2004

Foreign Minister winds up four-day visit to Middle East

Czech Foreign Minister Cyril Svoboda has wound up an important four-day visit to the Middle East, which included stops in Iraq, the Palestinian territories and Egypt, where the foreign minister met with Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak on Sunday. On the table for discussion were economic and military issues as well as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the situation in Iraq. Earlier Mr Svoboda indicated the Czech Republic viewed Egypt as an important player in the region. Meanwhile, a representative of the Czech Foreign Ministry, Martin Kosatka, has indicated the Czech Republic aims to specialise in Middle Eastern affairs within the framework of the European Union. The Czech Republic joins on May 1st.

Motive for attack on Respekt editor remains unknown

Police investigating an attack on Saturday targeting Tomas Nemecek, the editor-in-chief of the independent weekly Respekt, say they are treating the attack as a case of attempted grievous bodily harm. Motives for the assault, however, remain unknown. On Saturday two men in their early twenties attacked Mr Nemecek outside his home, spraying tear gas in his eyes and kicking him repeatedly in the head. Mr Nemecek, who suffered cuts, bruises, and a mild concussion, is expected to spend the week in hospital. One of Mr Nemecek's assistant managers at the weekly Respekt suggested in the meantime that the attack could have been a warning for the paper, involved in investigative reports of various criminal organisations in recent months.

Two Czechs die in avalanche in Slovakia's Tatra Mountains

Authorities have yet to reveal the identities of two Czech tourists killed in an avalanche in neighbouring Slovakia's Tatra Mountains on Saturday, when a kilometre-long avalanche swept all five but only buried two under the snow. Rescue crews and sniffer dogs immediately began searching the scene; one of the victims was retrieved after just fifteen minutes, but, regrettably, had already died.

CSA flight forced to turn back after experiencing technical problems

A flight by the national carrier CSA from Prague to New York was forced to turn back on Saturday after experiencing technical difficulties. Reports say the plane suffered problems with its hydraulic system forcing it to return, landing at Prague's Ruzyne airport at around five pm local time on Saturday evening. A spokeswoman for the airline has said that at no time were the passengers on the flight in any danger, though one passenger did experience nausea and had to receive treatment.

Sladek successful in local elections

Miroslav Sladek, the controversial leader of the far- right Republican Party, has been successful in local elections in the town of Utechov, a district in the Czech Republic's second-largest city Brno. Mr Sladek, along with his Independents, called "Prosperity and Security", received over 38 percent of votes and three posts in the 7-member town council. Mr Sladek could now even be elected mayor, his first significant return to politics since his far-right Republicans were knocked out of Parliament in general elections in 1998. Mr Sladek's group's finish in elections Saturday was followed by the Independents for Moravia, led by Zdenek Drahos, the former director of public broadcaster Czech TV's studio in Brno.

President Vaclav Klaus visits former arch-rival in Vysocina region

Czech President Vaclav Klaus most certainly raised an eyebrow or two on Sunday when he visited his former arch political rival Milos Zeman - in retirement at his cottage in the Czech Republic's Vysocina region. Both men met for about two-and-a-half hours, saying afterwards they had avoided discussing political issues and spoken simply as "regular guys". Mr Klaus had been on the way back from ski championships in Moravia when he stopped at Mr Zeman's home; he also invited Mr Zeman to now visit him at the presidential Lany Chateau. For years Mr Klaus and Mr Zeman represented the most heated of political rivals in Czech high politics. However, they always granted each other a measure of respect. Their last clash came last year during presidential elections, where Mr Zeman crashed out and Mr Klaus eventually persevered.

Weather

Monday is expected to be cloudy with a maximum daytime temperature of just two degrees Celsius.

18-01-2004